Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yoga and Sea Kayaking

I have been integrating yoga movements in training for sea kayaking, judo and snowboarding for some time. In my judo coaching/instruction I am amazed at how many young athletes have insufficient strength to demonstrate the plank. Since sea kayaking involves trunk rotation I have been practicing the warrior poses and triangle positions. In standing postures I make sure I am activating the abdominal muscles particularly the transversus. I have no specific skill in instructing yoga, but the basic yoga movements seem to me to make a lot of sense as a warmup and training for the variety of extreme movements expected in some sports. I have been using the Sun Salutation as a warmup for snow boarding and kayaking; but depending on the time of day, I usually avoid the forward bend part of the sequence and modify by bending the knees. Some time ago I picked up a Power Yoga book and I have a few key exercises I use to maximize trunk stabilization. I have also found the PX90 yoga DVD to be an additional resource and a alternative style; some of the positions I include in my exercise routine weekly.

I don't use every exercise and modify movements to suit my limitations. I often combine posture and rotation movements on a ball and use a paddle to assist in gauging the amount of trunk rotation I need.

I am also cautious about some poses and positions: forward flexion could be a high risk manouevre and this may be increased if forceful torsion is added. For me, inverted poses are potentially stressful for my neck and I avoid extreme flexion or twisting of my knees.

There are a multitude of styles and instructors within the broad scope of yoga. The key elements posture control, relaxed breathing, body awareness are invaluable benefits. Pushing beyond your available range of movement is not recommended. And twisting of the lumbar spine can impose too much stress on the disc.

I think a reasonable training goal is to replicate through exercise sport specific sequences that are meaningful to your activity and sport. If I can't touch my toes in a runners pose or include some rotation of the cervical and thoracic spine through the warrior position one and two, I may have some difficulty doing my roll, lay back, and or reach onto back deck of the kayak. The photo at top shows - clambering in, on or about the kayak in practice or in a real sea situation requires both strength and flexibility.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Aquaforte Paddle

About 40 of us carefully invaded the community of Aquaforte for this traditional end of the season paddle. This is a fishing community, so fishing vessels and other boats are frequently coming and going. We launched from a long beach, which is a small spit extending into the west end of this part of the harbour. We managed to putter around this end of the harbour while waiting for the whole group. Since the tide was high we were able to paddle close to shore where the East Coast trail extends. A group managed to paddle a short distance up the Aquaforte river. Once we were beyond the initial launch site we hugged the southern shore and explored the many rocky features and inlets. I can't remember the source but my recollection from someone knowledgeable in the area, was that Aquaforte Harbour was often favoured as a safe haven for many early arrivals from Britain; this partly was due to the deep waters of the harbour, as well as it's safe location. Apparently between 1675 and 1715 Aquaforte supported a seaonal fishery particularly from the UK. But the surrounding areas in particular Ferryland(which we could easily see as we headed out from the harbour, around Spurwink Island) was a hub of fishing activity from Spain, Portugal and English as early as 1500 on an annual basis.
Although we don't see any evidence of the whale fishery, in 1902 a norwegian made an application to build a factory to process whales.
The name Aquaforte is more than likely a reference to the only strong or fast water we saw or have seen over the years - the fair sized local waterfalls on the north side. No doubt it was even greater in it's capacity at the time Aquaforte was named or it may be that after a finding refuge in this otherwise calm harbour it was striking to come across this fair sized waterfall.
On our return we got a kick out of watching a gull give a bald eagle a bit of a hard time.I don't know if this was typical gull behaviour but I thought it a bit odd that this particular gull was picking a fight with an eagle.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Birchy Bay to Chapel and Coal All Island

This was an excellent paddle with a great group. Mixed conditions made for a varied day. Started out drizzling rain, cold and calm. Shortly after starting the sun broke out and winds kicked up for a while.

Indian Neck to Comfort Cove

The islands in this whole region provided a fair bit of protection and allowed lots of opportunity to rock hop if you were so inclined.
Incredible areas to explore and the chance to move in and out of every small cove likely extended the estimated 15 km distance quite a bit further.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Notre Dame Bay getaway

What a weekend!! - our central NL kayakers went beyond this weekend. The organizers did a great job. A major source of support was the town of Lewisporte and a number of donations were made by the office of boating safety and MEC.
Saturday there were three paddles organized. Shots taken are from the 15 km tour from Indian Cove Neck Provincial Park to Comfort Cove. A funny observation I had was that of all the places we visited - the only time I saw a moose was when it ran in front of me on the TCH just outside of Clarenville.
A number of us stayed in Woolfrey's Camping Park - clean sites and a place to all meet and share a barbeque Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Practice in St.Phillip's

Usually when the winds are beyond 50 km I go and mow the lawn, head to the Farmer's market... but yesterday I got an invite to join a group on the water just outside St.Phillip's.
What a day to test a kayak and skills!
In the relative protection of this inlet and just beyond the headland you get a good sense of the power of the wind and waves. In the search for realistic practice opportunities this was the ultimate.
I was the last to arrive and the first to leave but it was a good though quick workout.
This location is close to St.John's and easily accessible - a bonus for me was the harbour master didn't charge for launching.


Whether you are hiking or paddling this is a great place to visit.
The hike to the lighthouse is about 20 minutes and you can get a picnic lunch. If you miss getting a reservation - bring your own. While watching a couple of humpbacks one couple shared a bottle of champagne they brought with extra plastic champagne glasses. What a spot - you never know who you will run into.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pre hurricane paddle

A paddle on Conception Paddle was significant for the high tide effects - mostly alterations on the beach and what seemed to result in a clearing of debris from shore. We expected a little more wave activity but it was calm this past Saturday until the wind picked up on the way in to about 18 knots. There was no whale activity, but an interesting find was this shark egg capsule which in some regions is called a Mermaid's Purse.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Southern Shore - whale watch

We had to go out quite a ways out to get some shots of these whales - there were two minkes and two humpbacks but they were preoccupied with feeding presumably since they only briefly surfaced.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Any day on the water is a good day

I had made a comment to a visiting paddler about what a good sport he was to stay around for the whole day on Octagon Pond, his reply was simply : any day on the water is a good day.
This certainly seemed to be the case - a good number of the members of a number of paddling clubs got out and stayed on the water.
And it was fun to see a good range of ages and abilities trying different skills on the water.

KNL Safety Day

Saturday was the annual KNL safety day. The association partnered with Tumblehome Canoe Club, Avalon dragon boat paddlers, RNC, Rovers search and rescue, Outfitters, Arthur Janes and the town of Paradise to bring about a successful event. A large focus was on personal safety - but additional demonstration was provided regarding technical safety: how to handle a canoe, how to carry out a rescue. Paddlers were on hand as well to provide a safe introduction to basic kayaking and to try out kayaks generously lent by local kayak companies. One or two potential NL members who had never tried kayaking, even had an opportunity to practice exiting and a scramble reentry. KNL members used the day to fine tune their own rescue and reentry skills.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Launching from Mobile is a nice close site to watch humpbacks and minkes when the caplin are starting to roll.

Unfortunately, nature is late this year - so no whales but a rather large bald eagle was found, perched on the tree line on the north side of the bay. This one or another bald eagle was thought to have picked up a small otter in Bay Bulls. I don't know if this is local hiking or kayak mythology but based on the size of this eagle it could certainly be possible. So hikers should keep small dogs on a short leash.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Coast Guard Rescue

We won't be covering this kind of thing in our safety session coming up so check out
this Coast Guard rescue.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cape Broyle

Aside from being a bit of a tradition, paddling here is relatively protected dependent on the winds and quite a good workout. Plus - it is a great social event, twenty five folks made the 14 km trip in great conditions.

Father's Day Paddle

What better way to spend part of Father's Day?
A good number of folks signed up for this traditional event.
The weather was cool and winds were minimal - the water level was uncharacteristically low. This was most noticeable at the falls and what is usually a torrent had declined to less than half it's usual volume. Entering some of the usual caves and arches was difficult and in most cases ill advised.
On the other hand had we been in the mood for sea urchin eggs we need only have edged our kayak and picked a few from exposed rock croppings. Huge Mussel beds were equally identified appearing from a distance as black cracks on exposed rocks.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Iceberg bits - Bay Bulls

In near perfect conditions we went for a two hour workout in Bay Bulls before I had to attend a course on applied exercise physiology. We went with the intention of seeing whales, but they appparently aren't making themselves known yet. Instead we found a last small iceberg bit. We did manage to find a few small chunks of iceberg ice to throw in the freezer.